The Collaboration Game

In a recent Ashridge program, I used for the first time ‘the Collaboration Game©’, a business simulation for 6-50 people developed in the UK and owned by The Inside Out Partnership Ltd.


The Collaboration Game© is very powerful to help people develop some leadership capabilities that are essential in the 21stcentury, such as:

  • Collaboration across functional and organizational boundaries
  • Cross-functional problem-solving and decision-making
  • Understanding and adopting each other’s perspectives and the interdependencies
  • Overcome the competing priorities and resolve strategic issues

The game takes almost a full day to play and consists of several rounds in which the business owners (management team consisting of 6-8 participants) make decisions about investments, R&D, retention of critical employees and increasing market demand without creating excess stock. Participants take a role such as Investor, HR Director or Marketing Manager, and subsequently, play this role and the associated moves in each round (month) of the game. Their collective aim is to maximize the value (profit) of their business and pay back the investors and headhunters for what they invested in the business. At the same time, they have job-related priorities that need to be met, and these sometimes conflict with the collective business goals.

During the game, participants discover the consequences of only focusing on their own job description (collective results go down) and get confronted with the difficulties of strategic problem solving that benefits the entire company. The game can be set-up in a competitive way, such that several businesses run parallel and each tries to realize the biggest profit. Even more exciting is to set it up as several businesses within the same company, that want to make the best possible individual result, while also interacting with the company management team and other stakeholders.


The dilemma’s participants face in each round are the same dilemma’s any business leader is confronted with in today’s complex international context. Without exception, the individual learnings people take from the Collaboration Game are insightful. Frequent feedback rounds (within and across teams), as well as theory sessions every business month, result in maximum individual learning, while also collectively reflecting on the way teams collaborate across as business. Business teams who play the Collaboration Game together see benefits when back at work, such as more strategic thinking across divisions, different views on ownership and accountability and higher-quality decision-making.

Frank Garten is now certified to conduct the Collaboration Game© in trainings and workshops. For more information for the benefits of this simulation for your team, please contact Frank Garten. More information on the simulation itself can be found on the website of the Inside Out Partnership.

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